A long durational performance
August 10, 2015
Performed: 7 hours
Studio management: Anna Shpilko
Research support: Maria Clara Carneiro Sampaio
Photo: Igor Afrikyan, Lavoisier Clemente
I’m looking for a burnt rice field that would have a beautiful, strange, stand-alone tree. I finally find it – an endless field and a tree which is half-green, half-dry, better than I’d imagined. I tie myself to the tree by connecting my right ankle to one of the branches with a rope and hang myself with my head pointing down. Hanging like this for a long time is impossible. Every few minutes, I switch the ankles and hang myself down again. If I spend more than a few minutes in this position, I simply begin screaming from the pain and discomfort. It is a well-known fact that slaves used to survive over 24 hours hanging like this, and sometimes received pardon, if survived the torture.
Odin, the Scandinavian god, was known to hang for 9 days and 9 nights with his head pointing down from the sacred tree, also half-green and half-dry, to get initiated into the wisdom of runes. And then there is another symbol, the Hanged Man of the Tarot Cards. He is one of the most important symbols in the deck and belongs to the Major Arcana: ‘The Hanged Man shows a man suspended, upside-down, from the living World Tree, rooted in the underworld and supporting the heavens. Given the serene expression on his face, it is believed he is hanging on the tree of his own will. His right foot is bound to the tree but his left foot remains free. This is the card of ultimate surrender, of being suspended in time and of martyrdom and sacrifice to the greater good. This is the archetype to meditate on to help break old patterns of behaviour and bad habits that restrict you’.
Performance is over once my feet are black and blue.